First attempt at Night Photography

bewdley-underarches, originally uploaded by Jane2020.

I’ve always been a bit of a night owl. I tend to hit the wall, energy-wise, at around 3pm most days, when I could happily crawl into bed for an hour or two, if only work and children would allow me such a wonderful luxury.
But with or without my “old lady’s nap” I come scarily alive come nightfall. I am literally wackaday wideawake, and often just as irritating as Timmy Mallett, particularly when everyone around me is winding down.
In the good old days BK (before kids) this second wind resulted in lots of late night drinking and musing on the state of the nation and how to dispose of Thatcher Thatcher Milk Snatcher, while listening to Patti Smith, Kevin Coyne, The Wedding Present, The Smiths and Otis. Nowadays, I tend to use this time to catch up on the ironing.
But last Thursday I joined some new chums on my Recreational Photography course on a night visit to Bewdley, a beautiful little town on the River Severn, just three miles away from my hometown of Kidderminster.
After some false starts, I discovered how wonderfully illuminating photos taken at night can be.
While I find my daytime photos tend to strike a discordant note when compared to my memories of the moment – the skies are never quite blue enough, the detail not deep enough – I discovered that night photography reveals hidden depths, hidden details and hidden secrets that I hadn’t noticed at the time.
This picture was one of my last of the night. I had sneaked away from the rest of the group on the riverbank opposite Southside, a beautiful row of townhouses skirting the water’s edge. On my travels I discovered a steep set of uneven steps leading right into the brown, mysterious water. Perched on my bottom on the penultimate step, I took this image. My tripod was lopsided and I hadn’t been able to get my remote to work so had to press the button to take this picture, so I know it could be sharper. At the time the reflection of the bridge was somewhat muted and barely noticeable, yet when I got home it came magically alive. I plan to pop back one night to try again.
I have been musing on my photography adventures so far with some disappointment. I don’t feel that I have progressed sufficiently. But then I remember that I have spent very little time actively seeking out photographic opportunities. Until starting this short college course, I had only once gone out purely to take photos – the rest of my pix have come about during day trips or family holidays. So I have now resolved to spend at least an evening or morning a week taking photos – and this blog is a good way for me to keep my promise to myself. It will be interesting to see how long I last. I tend to be a bit flaky when it comes to sticking at things…

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    • Mark
    • March 24th, 2010

    Hi Jane. Wonderful post and wonderful photograph. You are a natural to this blogging lark. I started mine as a way of recording my progress photo wise but Im only recently recognising the importance of the words also. You’re a great writer and shaping up to be a great photographer! Blogging is very cathartic. I could never write a diary but this somehow feels different.

    You’re just starting out and are probably about the same point as I was this time last year. You have to make time for photography and actively plan what you want to shoot and where and when. Snatching time can be a problem with a family but I’m sure you have as much support as I do. Also, always take the camera with you. Don’t be afraid to stop the car if you see something wonderful. Finally, don’t feel disappointed about progress – it will come with practice. For every 100 shots you take only a handful will be good enough in your eyes. I still convince myself on a regular basis that I’m actually rubbish (and maybe I am) but it’s got to a point now where good things have happened and that can’t all be coincidence!

    Take advice (joining the camera club is a great start), ask opinion and keep blogging. This time next year you’ll look back and realize how far you have come.

    P.S. We’ll have to sort out that day’s photography sooner rather than later

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